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The tickets are booked, the apartment or hotel room is nearly ready, and the itinerary has been crafted.
All you have left to do is pack.
If you’re wondering how to pack for a business trip, you’ve come to the right spot. We’ve put together the ultimate business trip packing list to ensure that you don’t forget anything before you set off for your next big work trip.
Bring your suitcase and let’s dive in.
Getting organized with your luggage will make the rest of the packing (and the trip) run smoothly. Here’s where to start when you’re packing for a business trip.
When you’re packing for a business trip, it’s easiest to start with a good piece of carry-on luggage. Unless you require tons of outfit changes and need checked baggage, carry-on luggage helps you keep your gear with you, it’s easier to lug around, and it saves you money (depending on the airline).
If you’ve yet to use packing cubes, you’re in for a treat. Packing cubes are zipped fabric containers that come in different sizes and fit inside your luggage. They keep everything organized and ensure you’re not looking for that lost sock at 7 am on the morning of an important meeting.
Invest in a simple luggage lock to ward off those who are interested in snagging your suitcase.
In preparation to use your laptop on the airplane as you travel to a conference, you want to make sure you have a high-quality laptop bag or briefcase. Not only do these look professional as you step off the plane, but they ensure that your most prized work possession is protected during takeoff, landing, and everywhere in between.
Even if you’re bringing a briefcase or a laptop bag, you can still manage to tote along a small purse, too. Bring something just big enough to fit the basics, like your cards, phone, phone charger, chapstick, and travel documents.
Travel documents are one of the most essential parts of business travel. Here’s what you want to forget.
Whether you like to do a virtual boarding pass with an app or prefer to stick to a hard copy, a boarding pass is essential for the business trip packing list. Without it, you won’t get too far — if you’re flying, that is.
If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll need to remember to bring along your passport. Make sure it’s up to date and hasn’t expired and if you want to protect it, invest it in a passport cover or case. For domestic travel, your ID will do — just give it a peek to make sure it hasn’t expired.
When packing for a business trip, print out your itinerary or save it somewhere convenient on your phone or tablet. Sometimes, an itinerary might be provided to you, while other times you might need to create it on your own. An itinerary will help keep you on track and organized for the busy days ahead (don’t forget to add some fun stuff in there, too, like visiting a local art gallery or museum).
You’d think that clothing would be the most important thing when you’re masting how to pack for a business trip, but it’s pretty straightforward. Use this list as your base then customize it based on your field of work and clothing preferences. To fit more clothing into your suitcase and decrease the chance for wrinkles, tightly roll your clothes before placing them in your packing cubes or suitcase. The exception is a suit or dress, which should be folded nicely and placed on top.
Try to limit your shoes to two pairs when packing for a business trip. Go for something casual, like a tennis shoe, that you can work out in and throw on if you need to go somewhere that’s not fancy or work-related. Bring a dress pair that you can wear to meetings and out to dinner.
For guys and gals, bring a mix of dressy and casual tops. Don’t overdo it, though, and remember — you can rewear clothes, too so that your bag doesn’t fill up quickly. A simple blouse or dress shirt can be worn with different pants and take on an entirely new look.
Pants, skirts, shorts — you know the drill. When packing for a business trip, choose bottoms that can do double duty. A fancy pair of pants that aren’t too fancy can also be made casual with a tee shirt and tennis shoes.
Bring at least one dressy outfit for meetings and dinners with clients or colleagues.
At the end of a long workday, nothing is as important as a good pair of pajamas. Forego the tee shirt and mismatched sweats and bring a pair of pajamas you feel good in. Going to bed and waking up in a comfy pair of new PJs will make you feel like a million bucks.
Whether you find time to hit the gym or venture to a local yoga class, workout clothes are another thing to add to the business trip packing list. They’re going to get sweaty anyway so the good news is, you can rewear them.
Underwear, socks, and bras are must-haves. There’s nothing quite as disappointing as realizing you’ve forgotten to pack the right amount of socks or underwear. They don’t take up much space, so err on the side of too much rather than too little.
The trick about jobs that allow you to travel, is that you have to realize what’s essential and what’s not. You don’t want to bring your whole home office, but you do want to make remote work and meetings comfortable and productive.
Meeting a potential client or networking with coworkers can come to a standstill if you forget business cards. Of course, you can do things the old fashioned way (paper and a pen) if you forget, but business cards offer the ultimate in a professional information exchange with someone new.
We all have our favorite pens or pencils that we use when we’re on the job. When you’re learning how to work while traveling, it’s crucial to br ing along the things that strike inspiration and make you feel good. A pen that fits in your hand just-right is one of those things.
If you’re a fan of using a planner, invest in a small one to bring along. Some people use a large planner at home or in the office and have a smaller one to bring when they travel. If it works for you, you can also use a digital planner or app while traveling.
We like to think you won’t forget to add the laptop to your business travel packing list, but trust us when we say — it’s been done before. Even if you think you won’t forget it, write it on the list and cross it out once it’s packed.
Chargers seem to be one thing that often gets left at home. Remember to bring your cell phone charger, computer charger, and anything else that needs charging.
Headphones are ideal for long flights, coffee shops, and coworking spaces. You can bring along your ear-buds or invest in a good pair of over-ear foldable headphones.
There are a few personal extras we think are worth noting. These are different for everyone, but remember to bring along the stuff that makes you feel good — whether that’s a face-mask, a few extra protein bars, or some audiobooks if you’re trying to learn how to be productive while driving or sitting on the train.
Toiletries are simple but they’re essential. Bring your toothpaste, toothbrush, face wash, floss, makeup, and anything else you might need. Travel-size hairspray, shampoo and conditioner, and razors make the list, too (just remember to keep them in a plastic bag if you’re going on the plane).
Bring a book or download a couple to your tablet for the plane, long drives, or to lull you to sleep after a busy day.
A reusable water bottle is a good item to bring along when you’re packing for a business trip. Not only is it eco-friendly, but it will save you money on buying plastic water bottles throughout your trip. Non-perishable snacks like protein bars and almonds are good to bring for times when you need a boost of energy, especially if you’re interested in how to eat healthy while traveling for work.
This is a minor but important personal extra. Whether you have sensitive skin that might react to the detergent in the hotel, or you just don’t feel like spending the extra travel funds on detergent, bring along some of your own in a small container. For longer trips, this means you can pack less, pick a mellow night to do your laundry, and bask in the happiness that clean clothes bring while traveling.
From workout clothes to headphones, we hope our ultimate business trip packing list has you feeling stress-free and ready for your trip ahead. Now that you know what to bring, you can focus on your work.
Remember, the most important part of packing for any trip is to turn on some music and enjoy the process.